Heavyweights Belgium, Netherlands arrive for the Hockey World Cup

Belgium, the World No. 3, and Netherlands, the World No. 4, arrived in Bhubaneswar on Saturday.

Players from the England and New Zealand teams had a look at the newly-laid turf at the Kalinga Stadium (in picture) on Saturday.   -  Biswaranjan Rout

Seeking to win the title, World No. 3 Belgium and the No. 4 Netherlands arrived in the city for the upcoming World Cup.

Clubbed in Pool D, also called the ‘Pool of Death’ with heavyweights Germany, Pakistan and Malaysia, the Dutch are looking out for tough matches right from the start. “We need to make sure we keep our heads down and play our best every match,” asserted Max Caldas, head coach of the Netherlands.

‘Tough preparations’

Speaking of the team’s excitement to be back in the city, experienced player Billy Baker said, “We have won almost every match we have played this season and we have also had really tough preparations for the tournament. We are aware of the Bhubaneswar crowds who come in large numbers and we want to enjoy playing in front of them and also use their support to feel motivated.”

"We are excited to get going," announces Belgium captain Thomas Briels (in picture). Photo: Biswaranjan Rout

 

The Netherlands begins its campaign on December 1.

‘Fit and sharp’

Belgium, the World No. 3, also arrived few minutes after the Netherlands players touched down. “We are arriving after three months of solid preparations. We pretty much trained full time and the preparations were heavy. The guys are really fit and sharp. We are excited to get going,” said Belgium captain Thomas Briels.

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Belgium is grouped with host India, Canada and South Africa in Pool B and begins its campaign against Canada on November 28.

England and New Zealand arrived late on Friday night and were already on the pitch on Saturday to get a feel of the newly-laid turf at the Kalinga Stadium.